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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

San Antonio Mayor Calls LGBT Protections a “Waste of Time”

Mayor Ivy Taylor, elevated after pro-equality Julian Castro left office, derides the non-discrimination ordinance he championed

Taking part in a “faith forum” for mayoral candidates on Sunday, Mayor Ivy Taylor of San Antonio, Texas attacked a recently-enacted non-discrimination ordinance protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) city employees and contractors from discrimination.

Taylor, a Democrat and former member of the city council who succeeded Mayor Julian Castro when he was appointed to President Obama’s cabinet, told the crowd, “I did not feel we should have even been debating that issue. […] I thought it was a waste of time.” Taylor voted against the ordinance when it was before the council.

If Mayor Taylor thinks protecting her own citizens from discrimination is a waste of time, then she has no business serving the people of San Antonio—as mayor, as a city council member, even as dog catcher,” said HRC Vice President of Communications Fred Sainz. “She should apologize for her shameful comments immediately and take some lessons from the former mayor on how to lead on behalf of all the residents of this great city.”

Mayor Taylor’s shameful comments come at a moment when more than 20 pieces of anti-LGBT legislation are being considered by the Texas legislature.

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Friday, April 10, 2015

Transgender SGT. in Military Limbo

Currently, he is a Sergeant in the U.S. Army at Wheeler Airfield in Oahu, Hawaii. Sgt.Ortega is female-to-male transgender and transitioned on active duty over four years ago. While posted in Fort Wainwright, Alaska in 2011, he began to live in accordance with his male gender identity.

After a voluntary Psychological Evaluation a few weeks ago, his results returned negative for gender dysphoria and the U.S. Army deemed him fit to perform his normal duties without facing separation orders. However, he is in administrative limbo because his gender marker in the Military Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) is still listed as female. Sgt. Ortega’s Command has requested clear guidance from the DOD as to whether this means Shane can stay in the military or not.

Sgt. Ortega is not able to accommodate media interviews at this time, but has offered the following comment:

My commitment to serving this country runs deep. I have been a team and squad leader, a crew chief, and a machine gun section chief. I have been on over 400 combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, and fought side-by-side in foxholes and remote operating bases. As I fight for my country in foreign lands, all I want it is to be able to serve openly while keeping the job that I love. I will continue to fight this fight for the 700,000 transgender veterans that have gone before me who were forced to choose between serving their country and being true to who they are.”

A recent Associated Press story suggests military leaders worry about attempts by the Pentagon to lift the transgender service ban. Joshua Block, attorney in the ACLU’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and HIV Project expresses, “Sgt. Ortega is living proof that trans people are ready, willing, and able to serve their country, and that military regulations labeling trans service members as automatically unfit for duty have no basis in reality. Soldiers like Shane should not have to choose between serving their country and being true to who they are."

Washington Post feature story

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Thursday, April 9, 2015


In the film, openly gay Muslim director Parvez Sharma (A Jihad for Love) documents his pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia, where filming is strictly prohibited and homosexuality is a crime punishable by death.  Sharma felt these were risks he had to take as he embarked on his Hajj pilgrimage, a journey considered the greatest accomplishment and aspiration within Islam. On his journey Sharma aims to look beyond 21st-century Islam’s crises of religious extremism, commercialism and sectarian battles. He brings back the story of the religion like it has never been told before, having endured the biggest jihad there is: the struggle with the self.

Sharma is already a marked, gay Muslim man following the release of his first film on Islam and homosexuality called A Jihad for Love.  Even before A SINNER IN MECCA’s film’s first public screening, Sharma has already received a barrage of hate mail and death threats, as evidenced in the comments on the film’s trailer on YouTube -

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New LGBT "GoFundMe" Counters Memories Pizza Campaign

It's now critical that the LGBT community and allies prove that discrimination against minorities has no place in modern society. An anti-discrimination fundraiser "Love is Stronger Than Hate" has now been started, with all proceeds going to the Human Rights Campaign, to aid them in their efforts to promote equality.

A new online fundraiser by the LGBT community has been launched in direct response to recent news that a pizza restaurant in Indiana has garnered support for discriminating against the LGBT community. Their public announcement led to an online fund being set up, which has raised more than $800,000.

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Thursday, April 2, 2015

George Takei Launches New Web Series

 George Takei is coming to your computer screen in a new heightened reality series “It Takeis Two” with husband Brad Takei.  Everyone’s favorite social media maven is sharing some semi-scripted highlights from domestic life with the man most well known as Sulu and his husband, and career architect.

Beginning on Tuesday, April 7th the short form web series will be available for streaming select episodes on George Takei’s YouTube channel.  Subscribe to the channel to catch each episode.

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